It goes without saying that mostly everyone is watching the field of horses for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. There is an air of excitement about this race that is now just two weeks away as California Chrome and his challengers get ready for their roles in potential history. The authoritative source for this article - the Blood Horse report of May 24, 2014 – details the current known field of contenders for the third leg of the Triple Crown.
As California Chrome, winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, goes about his preparations for the $1.5 million Gr I Belmont Stakes, a good-sized field is readying for the challenge to dash his chances at the crown.
On June 7, the day of the running of the 1-1/2 mile Belmont, it is likely the field of competitors attempting to win and spoil Chrome’s chances for the crown could number 10 horses, down one horse due to an injury sustained on May 25.
Tonalist - One of the horses making a bid to beat California Chrome is Tonalist, winner of the Gr II Peter Pan Stakes.
Commissioner - Also in contention is Commissioner, one of two horses trained by Todd Pletcher who hopes to have a chance at Chrome.
Intense Holiday – Out of contention since Sunday, May 25. Intense Holiday is the second horse trained by Todd Pletcher. During morning training, Intense Holiday suffered a condylar fracture in his right front leg that requires surgery. He is scheduled for surgery on Monday and expectations are good that the colt will make a full recovery.
Wicked Strong – The colt ran a good race in the Gr I Wood Memorial. He placed fourth in the Derby and is waiting for his chance to run against Chrome again.
Commanding Curve – This horse was the runner up in the Derby and has been resting prior to his try at Chrome.
Ride On Curlin – The colt did not place in the Derby but ran second in the Gr I Preakness Stakes.
Kid Cruz – He was the winner in the Federico Tesio Stakes and ran to an eighth place in the Preakness.
Matuszak – He ran second in the Federico Tesio to Kid Cruz. Matuszak is hopeful in the Belmont.
Samraat – This horse ran to fifth place in the Kentucky Derby.
Social Inclusion – Horse is slated to run in Belmont. He placed third in the Preakness.
Candy Boy – Colt placed 13th in the Derby field and is rested.
An interesting statistic from the New York Racing Association about the number of entries is:
No horse has won the Triple Crown facing more than seven rivals, which Seattle Slew and Citation accomplished in 1977 and 1948, respectively. Secretariat in 1973 and Affirmed, the most recent Triple Crown winner in 1978, both defeated four others.
Alan Sherman, assistant trainer and son of California Chrome’s trainer Art Sherman, said that it’s up to California Chrome. “It’s a horse race and anything can happen.”
He voiced every trainer’s spoken or unspoken belief that the racing horses are trained and ready. Once they hit the track, it’s no longer in the hands of the trainers. What’s needed then is some racing luck and hope that all goes well.
Sherman has confidence in Chrome. He said, “He’ll run his race!”
According to the Blood Horse, Sherman added,
Three hard races in five weeks is tough on them. I'm not saying Chrome can do it any easier than any other horse who's done it, but the horse is going to try. If he's good enough, he'll get it done.
With the date for the Belmont drawing closer, California Chrome finds himself in the spotlight constantly. His image is in demand and his every workout is under intense scrutiny. Chrome’s connections find it difficult to move about with any privacy. Speculation runs rampant about the possibilities for another long-awaited Triple Crown winner.
Watch this compilation of California Chrome's races: California Chrome's Quest for the Triple Crown